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Didn't surrender my I-94W when I left the US. What to do?

Didn't surrender my I-94W when I left the US. What to do?

Old Jul 30, 07, 11:03 pm
  #1  
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Didn't surrender my I-94W when I left the US. What to do?

Hello everybody,


This is my first visit in this group, and I'm sorry if the issue has been discussed before.

Anyways. Iím a Danish citizen, and when I left LAX after two weeks in the US a few days ago, the Swiss ground staff forgot to collect my I-94W departure record (or I forgot to hand it in Ė depending on how you look at it). I didnít realize this until I was back home in Denmark.

Now my problem is that in a few days Iím going back to the US Ė this time traveling on my I-Visa (foreign media) Ė and Iím afraid they wonít let me in because I didnít hand in the little green slip when I left.

The US Embassy in Denmark told me to send proof of leaving the US to the USCBP (in the US), and also bring proof with me when I re-enter the States. But besides my Swiss boarding pass from the LAX-ZRH flight I donít really have that much proof that I left.

Has anyone had a similar experience? And which proof did you bring? Is this just a formality or am I really in trouble?

Any input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old Jul 30, 07, 11:09 pm
  #2  
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Just bring in whatever you can... I suppose boarding pass will do.
They might ask you bunch of questions, but I do not think they will
stop you from entering.
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Old Jul 30, 07, 11:16 pm
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Get the name and number of the embassy personnel you spoke with in Denmark. They could at least prove your were in Denmark and had left the United States. Perhaps a letter from the embassy or something like that might help. I'm sure you're not the first person to make that mistake.
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Old Jul 31, 07, 12:55 am
  #4  
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Not sure about the I-visa, but I worried about this before my last entry under visa waiver because the time before BA at EWR had forgotten to take the green slip (and I had thrown out my boarding card before I realised I might need it). But when I entered the USA next time no mention was made of it (I had the green slip with me, but not in the passport). I wouldn't worry too much about it - the US Immigration service doesn't really seem to have control of its data in the way that people believe/fear.
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Old Jul 31, 07, 1:07 am
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Ari
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Originally Posted by ebra View Post
Is this just a formality or am I really in trouble?

Any input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Keep your original Swiss BP from leaving the US. Keep your original I-94W Departure Record. Send a copy of each to where the Embassy told you to send it. Also, try to get some note from the Embassy that says you were there on X date to inquire about your I-94W Departure Record.

You will most likely be fine.
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Old Jul 31, 07, 1:14 am
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The whole "they left the green card in my passport" story comes up every now and then. People think it's a big drama, but in reality the US does a terrible job tracking visitor movements.

In any case, if you stayed in the US for two weeks only, and left just a few days ago, you could still legally be in the US. That means that you'll be sending the I-94 in before its expiration date -- no need to get statements from embassy personnel. Do not keep the I-94 in your passport, and it is very likely that nobody will even mention it. Even if you had turned in, it wouldn't be processed yet.
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Old Jul 31, 07, 1:45 am
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Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
... Even if you had turned in, it wouldn't be processed yet.
That's a very good point.

And thanks to everybody. Maybe this is not quite the predicament I had feared.

I have collected a few credit card receipts for purchases made in Denmark after I returned, and had my boss sign a document that states, that I am indeed in Denmark at the moment. Together with the boarding pass I hope that will do Ė just in case I get in trouble.

Or maybe I should consider doing a short mileage run and remember to get a stamp in my passport in a foreign country. I guess that would be sufficient proof Ö

Cheers!
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Old Jul 31, 07, 2:35 am
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I've had this happen twice. The trip following the first time I ended up spending an extra hour in a small CBP office waiting for someone to talk to me. When they got around to it I was out in 5 mins. Second time I found the card in my passport I had the Cathay Pacific ground staff fax a copy back to their US handling office to clear it. Result - no delays on the next trip.
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Old Jul 31, 07, 5:39 am
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On the US embassy page there is a link to what you need to do if you forgot to trade in the I-94 - fell over it a couple of weeks ago.... but knowing what kind of info they have on us anyway like CC details they should have enough proof to "know" you have left the country anyway.
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Old Jul 31, 07, 6:55 am
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Also the very fact you are standing at immigration from an international flight shows you must have left the states!
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Old Jul 31, 07, 7:08 am
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I travel UK-US several times a year, and regularly 'find' the little green slip in my passport when I get back to the UK. I just throw it away, and I've never had a problem
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Old Jul 31, 07, 7:29 am
  #12  
Ari
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Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post
Also the very fact you are standing at immigration from an international flight shows you must have left the states!
Now, now, let's not jump to logical conclusions . . .
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Old Jul 31, 07, 7:39 am
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Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post
Also the very fact you are standing at immigration from an international flight shows you must have left the states!
It could lead to an interesting philosophical discussion. Not sure if immigration officers are big fans of philosophical discussions Ö
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Old Jul 31, 07, 8:27 am
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Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post
Also the very fact you are standing at immigration from an international flight shows you must have left the states!
But the question is, did you leave in time?


The immigration officer at your next entry can provide you with an info sheet with the address to the return the form. Or you can try this:

http://help.cbp.gov/cgi-bin/customs....i=&p_topview=1
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Old Jul 31, 07, 11:50 am
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The I-94 Problem

Some simple steps to follow, based on advice from an ex-border official (me): take the old I-94W with you if you still have it, and turn it in at the US inspection booth upon arrival. The officer may ask you why you failed to turn it in (not doubt lecturing you not to do it again) but will take it as a good faith indication of your willingness to comply with the requirements.
They do have the ability to check on your various entries (and those exits that were reconciled!). There may be an issue if it appears you overstayed on that previous visit (the date on the I-94 expired before you left), but the decision on entry will be focused more on what you intend to do this time and not on a minor discrepancy from the previous visit. Again, honesty is appreciated -- just don't own up to anything they don't know about; if you give them no choice but to enforce the entry/departure requirements, they can pick you off like a sitting duck. Good luck.
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